We live in a small cul-de-sac, with seven houses all together and two on the adjacent corners facing the cross-street. Everyone is friendly. One neighbor family is particularly endearing. They have lived in their house for over 20 years, and are kind, generous folks though they are not by any means wealthy. Their 21-year-old son lives at home, working and attending courses to become an EMT; a darling, handsome fellow he is, distressingly attractive to my more audacious friends, but fortunately (for those drolling friends of mine – hands off!) with a long-time girlfriend.
We have lived here for almost 9 years, and it was not long before we noticed that the wife appeared to have a bit of a drinking problem. She frequently visited, bearing a glass of what appeared to be iced tea, and she and I would sit on the porch and talk. Because alcoholism was rampant in my mother’s family, it was not difficult for me to notice that she reeked of alcohol, and was never without that glass.
After a couple of failed attempts, she recently achieved some success in banishing alcohol from her life. There is a well-known group here in the US (perhaps it is also in other countries) called Alcoholics Anonymous – ‘AA’, its popular label. AA organizes meetings in a manner to accomodate the participants’ values; our neighbor has been attending an AA meeting specifically for Catholics, and in that 6 months has not touched a drink. She is understandably pleased with her progress, and though still rather fragile her lively, quirky and sweet personality is making a sober debut. Kudos to the woman, I say!
My husband and I were recently talking about her, both so happy that this lovely little woman is pulling herself out of the abyss and rejoining the world. He shared a recent conversation between the two of them.
The wife told of how she walks to her AA meetings every day, held in a small outbuilding located in the center of a pretty neighborhood park. She spoke of the challenges, and the blessings from being involved with a group of supportive people who share her addiction as well as her religious faith, and looked forward to reaching another sobriety milestone in another 6 months. My husband has an amazing capacity for compassion, and replied with words of encouragement.
Her son then arrived home from work and, minutes later, his girlfriend’s car rounded the corner. Our neighbor sighed and said to my husband, It’s very difficult to do the Lord’s work when my son and his girlfriend are going at it upstairs.
Needless to say, my husband was rendered rather speechless.